CM . . .
. Volume XXIV Number 40. . . .June 15, 2018
Fox and Raccoon. (Juniper Hollow).
Toronto, ON: Tundra, 2018.
32 pp., hardcover & EPUB, $21.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-101-91796-1 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-101-91798-5 (EPUB).
Preschool-kindergarten / Ages 3-5.
Review by Harriet Minuk.
When Raccoon arrived at Fox’s house as usual that morning, Fox did not look like she was ready for a day of fun and games.
“I’m sorry Raccoon. I’m just too busy to come out and play today.” said Fox.
Fox and Raccoon are very good friends as well as neighbours in Juniper Hollow. They spend each day together playing hopscotch, chase, as well as hide and seek. When Raccoon goes to Fox’s house one morning (as per usual), he finds Fox extremely busy doing chores. Being a helpful friend, Raccoon offers to assist, making several trips to mail letters, buy eggs, obtain juniper juice, and string. Raccoon even stops to pick some flowers on his way back to Fox’s house. But when he arrives, he discovers a real surprise!
Raccoon demonstrates what an amazing friend he is by offering to help Fox with the tasks at hand. In fact, Raccoon goes out of his way to be helpful, his actions being somewhat fueled by his desire to go outside and play as soon as possible. Needless to say, Raccoon is a definite support system for Fox as Fox can count on him. In fact, Fox didn’t even have to ask for help - Raccoon just jumped in! Respect, kindness, and concern are clearly in evidence, character attributes that are important for children to have reinforced wherever possible as they form their own relationships in life.
Lesley-Anne Green has used materials such as wool, thread and fabric to weave a story to great effect. All of the animals are needle-felted throughout the book, and the clothing they wear is skillfully assembled. The tiny dresses, sweaters, skirts, overalls and hats displayed in different colours, styles and patterns are simply adorable. The furniture, props and pieces, including the materials to create the grass, trees and flowers, magnify the great attention to detail and realism on every page. The mood is uplifting and fun.
The backgrounds of the pages are soft, with pastel shades in solids, patterns, or a combination of the two. As well, the typeface is easy to read due to placement on a page and the background colours.
The use of animals that wear clothing and talk like people (anthropomorphism) to tell a story is extremely common in children’s literature and is an important tool for engaging children as well. However, it does make one take pause as to what children might think when interacting or learning about real animals. Fox and Raccoon is delightful on so many levels – a must read for young children.
Harriet Minuk is a librarian at Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.
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